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Jessica April ’05 is digital production manager at Rolling Stone magazine — by Jess Wason ’11

Jessica April ’05 loves her job at Rolling Stone magazine, and it’s not hard to discover why.

“I work between the editing staff and the sales staff, so I’m always rushing around in the office between the two teams,” she said. “One time, I was walking down the hall and wasn’t really looking, and I ran into this small woman. It was only later that I found out it was Yoko Ono! I’d bumped into a famous musician without even realizing it. That’s when I really knew I worked at an interesting place.”

Jessica is digital production manager for the magazine’s web site, where she is leading the site redesign that will debut in April. Many people could only dream of working at such a well-known magazine, but Jessica knows she earned it.

“I worked my butt off to get to Rolling Stone,” she said. “I interned every summer during college, and nearly every winter, and I took any job that I could to get a lot of experience.”

During the summer of her sophomore year, Jessica interned for Partnership for a Drug-Free America, where she was an online editor and helped manage production on several projects. When she graduated from Lafayette, the company offered her a freelance job, which later turned into a full-time position. Jessica remained there for three years before deciding it was time to move on.

“I just wanted a change, so I applied for the position at Rolling Stone and, luckily, I got it!” she said.

But as a student at Lafayette, Jessica had different plans for her future. “At first I thought I was interested in journalism,” she said. “Then after one particular class I thought I was going to be a lawyer. I was fortunate to take a variety of classes before declaring my English major.”

Jessica remembers three particular classes that really challenged her. “Everyone should take them,” she said.

The first was her favorite English class, focusing on John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which was taught by Professor Paul Cefalu. “I loved the way he brought the class to life,” she recalled. “He encouraged healthy debate, and the whole class was a group discussion that forced students to be quick on their feet while jumping into serious discussions. It was challenging, but we discovered something new in each class.”

Another influential class was Constitutional Law with Professor Bruce Allen Murphy. “This class evoked in me a desire to go to law school,” Jessica said. “He was such a convincing professor, he inspired me to take my LSATs — which I actually took twice! Even though I ultimately decided not to go to law school, I will always remember his course.”

One of Jessica’s all-time favorite classes was Basic Social Questions with Professor George Panichas. “I thought the course was so hard, but I was lucky to get into it,” she said. “I have never felt so passionate, angry, and excited all at the same time. I give him credit for evoking such strong emotions from students.”

In addition to her internships, Jessica was very active outside the classroom. “I really liked being a leader and a role model,” she said. She was president of Pi Beta Phi, played intramural sports, and was active in Hillel.

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